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Ethical Issues Facing Social Researchers Essay

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Updated: Nov 28th, 2019

Introduction

Research refers to a systematic study aimed at making new discoveries or arriving at a dependable solution through an accurate gathering, analysis and interpretation of information. Research can be adventurous and fun because a researcher gets to learn so much and interact with new aspects and concepts which are previously unknown. However, researchers face numerous ethical issues whenever they are conducting research and this is the focus of this discussion.

Ethical Issues

One of the ethical issues that researchers face is getting participants in their research (Babbie, 2008, p.45). There is an ethical principle in social research known as voluntariness. This principle requires that any participant to a research must participate willingly without being coerced, forced or induced.

This is especially in cases where researchers would use prisoners or students in learning institutions for their researches. In line with this is a principle, it will no longer be possible for researcher to conduct any kind of research until those participating show willingness to do so without any kind of inducement such as monetary promises.

The other ethical issue when it comes to social research is the issue of informed consent. This simply means that social researchers and indeed any researcher must ensure that all their participants have a clear understanding of the kind of activity they are engaging in prior to them participating in the research. All participants should be well aware of the nature of the research and the likely consequences they are likely to face whether positive or negative.

The ethics that are applicable in social research also require that researchers take due caution and protect their participants from any potential harm or risk (Babbie, 2010, p.56).

The harm in this case refers to both psychological as well as physical. In ensuring that the participants in a research are fully protected, researchers are required to maintain a high level of confidentiality thereby ensuring that the information provided by the participants is not released to nay other person. Further, researchers can only use such information obtained only for the purposes of research only.

Social researchers are also required in some cases to ensure that their participants are anonymous. This means that their identity is not known and this is especially because of the nature of research which may involve release of highly confidential information. This ensures that participants in a research study are not later victimized based on the information they provided.

Ethical Dilemma

While there are well laid down ethical rules and standards which social researchers are required to observe when conducting their research, there are times that the need to e accurate and therefore obtain valid result may require the researcher to overlook some of the ethical standards (Kimmel, 1988, p.55). It is in this case that researchers face an ethical dilemma where one hand, they need to abide by the ethical standards while on the other hand, there is need to obtain accurate information regarding the study.

Conclusion

Ethics is about what is right or wrong, good or bad. In this case, social researchers are faced with challenges whenever there is a dilemma of observing the ethical standards and obtaining correct information. It may not be possible to give a specific position considering that ethics is wide. Therefore, one may have to deal with a specific issue depending on the circumstances of the case.

One aspect that I found quite interesting as far as research ethics is the fact that it is sometimes caught between a rock and hard place in the sense that there is a dilemma between wanting to protect those participating in the study while at the same time there is need to get accurate results.

It therefore becomes very tricky at times for researchers. What I found disturbing in research ethics is the fact that sometimes researchers flout the standards of ethics in an attempt to get accurate results. It therefore becomes quite disturbing as one wonders where a balance can be struck between getting accurate results and remaining ethical

References

Babbie, E. (2008) The basis of social research. New York: CengageBrain.com.

Babbie, E. (2010) The practice of social research. New York: CengageBrain.com.

Kimmel, A. (1988) Ethics and value in applied social research. London: Sage.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Ethical Issues Facing Social Researchers." November 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethical-issues-facing-social-researchers/.

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